Covid-19 in UAE: Pandemic challenges spur digital transformation in education sector

'Educational institutions moved from traditional learning to a more flexible style that fits the current Covid crisis and beyond'



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Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Tue 25 Jan 2022, 2:22 PM

The UAE is determined to take advantage of the opportunities or challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in the field of education by accelerating the pace of digital transformation and reconsidering what learning is about through focusing on self-learning and advanced skills using new technologies and expanding the scope and horizons of learning, said Hussain Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education.

“With the new health reality, an urgent need has emerged to strengthen international cooperation and work to confront the challenges that have arisen. Therefore it has become imperative for us to enhance educational development opportunities to ensure that it reaches all students around the world,” Al Hammadi said during a key session organized by the ministry to mark the International Day of Education.

He also stressed the importance and value of education and its leading role in building the walls of development, cooperation, global peace, strengthening global identity, and improving the quality of human life.

All schools across the UAE had adopted remote or online learning in 2020 following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic to control the spread of the virus and to protect the health of students, teachers and the entire school community.

Al Hammadi said during an interview programme on a local TV channel last year that education in the future will be of the hybrid system and a mix of smart education through various educational platforms and realistic or face-to-face education for teaching certain subjects.

He explained that a student can get the information or educational materials through remote learning, but they also need to go to school for in-class lessons to learn and develop many skills under educational supervision. These include soft and behavioural skills, teamwork, interactions with their peers to get some experiences in education, making use of scientific laboratories, and practicing sports.

The Covid-19 crisis has offered an opportunity for all stakeholders in the education sector to reconsider how education is managed and delivered. Education institutions, including schools, universities moved from traditional learning to a more flexible style that fits the current Covid crisis and beyond. But it required redevelopment of the education system and its tools, and most importantly the empowerment of the educators.

An education expert in the UAE said schools and teachers should not be perceived just as vehicles for knowledge delivery but should also be able to control what they teach and how to pass it over to the students.

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“Digital learning is very important for the future of education. Technology can also elevate the role of teachers from simply being knowledge transmitters to actively working as co-creators of knowledge, for their students,” said the expert.

The activities for the International Day of Education included interactive and talking sessions, in addition to reviewing inspiring experiences around the world presented by a group of students and teachers who shared with their success stories during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com


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